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Natalia: Oct 1-15, 2012

Losing Natalia today was harder on me than I’d expected.  The last few days she balanced that tightrope between life and death so closely, we knew there was a good chance she’d pass…  but with her finally starting to gain weight, I had hoped that perhaps we were turning a corner.

Damon and I came home for a feeding at about 2:00, by 2:30 we made the choice not to tube her.  She was almost gone, and we didn’t want to put her through it.  We took turns holding her against our chests – keeping her warm and close.  At 3:21, right before we had to leave to pick up kid kid from school, she passed.  Damon passed her to me, and I held her until he had gone to the school and brought Lily-Ann home so we could all say goodbye.

We honestly thought that perhaps we’d turned that all important corner with her…  that the tube feedings every two hours, the warm water enemas, the warm baths, vitamin drops, colic cures, all the intensive care and extra attention had given her what she needed…  but it clear she was ready to go.  She fought long and hard, but was just too tired to keep on trying.  I keep reminding myself that 30% of all puppies don’t make it – but it’s little comfort.  I am grateful we have four healthy strong boys to love and care for.  But it doesn’t temper the sting of losing Natalia.

Natalia on October 8th @ 2.3 ounces. Being bottlefed by Damon - who worked so hard for her.

Natalia on October 8th @ 2.3 ounces.
Being bottlefed by Damon – who worked so hard for her.

Natalia on October 15th @ 2.7 ounces. Rest in peace sweet little girl, we will see you again.

Natalia on October 15th @ 2.7 ounces.
Rest in peace sweet little girl, we will see you again.

 

 

Thora, Bucky, and Sweets; our old dogs.

I started writing a post about old dogs…  got about a paragraph in, and deleted it.  The fact of the matter is that we now have three old dogs, and as much as I love old dogs (seriously, I’m a sucker for a senior dog, there’s just something about them) I worry for our hearts.

We’ve only ever had one senior dog at a time before.  And it wrenches your heart out when they leave you.  Time helps you heal, but the hole they leave in your heart never completely closes back over.  I imagine my heart looks like swiss cheese.  I’ve had far too many go on ahead to Rainbow Bridge to wait for me.  I wonder how many more holes I can handle.

Thora.  Can’t believe she’s 11.  I have no idea how it happened.  I remember the day she arrived (via the underground railroad – volunteers each driving a leg of the journey to bring her here).  I cried when I saw her for the first time.  She was everything I had ever hoped for.  Lurchers are fabled as the “ultimate” dog, and she really is.  The idea that she’s a senior is just so foreign.  She’s still my “baby girl”.  She’s still that ultimate hunter and protector – the perfect dog.

Brandibuck is 12.  Boy, she and I have weathered a lot of storms.  She was my Service Dog for a number of years.  I retired her officially at 8.  She was ready to just be a pet, she didn’t want to deal with stores and people, and traffic, and crowds any more.  Now she just has to patrol the yard…  keeping everyone in line.  She’s always been a momma dog.  Keeping the unruly puppies in check.  She’s what we call a gentle alpha, though the last year or so she’s kinda let the alpha part slip (allowing Thora to step in).  She’s always been a bit of a princess too – unless she’s rolling in the dirt and mud.  Good grief.  I wonder how I ever kept her in show coat.  Oh right!  I used to brush her long locks every day.  I enjoyed it too, she mostly just tolerated it.  I think she was relieved when I finally relented and clipped her down.  My funny little Havanese…  my little Neezer.

Sweets.  Well…  Caesar.  He hasn’t been with us that long.  But like I’ve mentioned, we’re kinda suckers for an old dog.  CZ came here for his “last hurrah” – to breed to a couple of girls.  It didn’t take long for us to realize he wasn’t going anywhere, that at 11 he’d found his forever home.  He’s very much the king of the castle here.  The girls all pander to him (except Thora, who’s top dog, and she mostly lets him do his own thing) and the people all dote on him, heck even the cat – who avoids all the other dogs – will love him up.  He’s one seriously spoiled old dood.  And he really is the sweetest little old man Chi, which is why I’ve dubbed him Sweets (and yes, it’s a nod to Bones as well).  We’re quite happy he chose us as his family.

So there we are.  Three old dogs.  One who joined our family when she was two, one at three months, and one at 11 – yet all are within a year of one another.  I can’t imagine how our hearts will fare when they begin to say goodbye.  I truly hope it’s a long, long ways away.

 

one of our wedding photos, with three of our dogs

Our wedding in 2006; with Thora, Brandibuck, and Nico (now at the Rainbow Bridge).

You can meet some of our dogs here:  http://www.dogster.com/family/373333  But it’s a few years out of date.  Guess it’s time to think about updating it (especially seeing how half our dog aren’t even there).  😉

A Farewell to Karen Pipke

Honestly, I wasn’t going to post about this…  Clearly I wasn’t going to post about this as I’ve already made my post for this evening…  But my word for the year is love…  and I’m determined to be true to myself and allow myself to feel things deeply and fully…  so to choose to NOT share goes against that.  So here it is:

I learned today that a fellow Havanese Fancier, Karen Pipke, has passed away.  Karen and I go back quite a ways together.  I remember helping her out when she was first getting started in the breed.  She’d had Shelties for a number of years, but was just getting started in Havanese.  Sylvia and I made several trips out to her place (one province over) to talk dogs, and help her evaluate puppies.  Karen and I were actually talking about possibly co-owning a pup this year…  As my only Neezer is now into her double digits, and I miss showing them.  They are SOOO easy in the ring compared to Chihuahuas.  The idea that she’s gone feels like someone has played some cruel joke.  I’m just waiting for someone to yell “Ha ha!  I gotcha!”  It’s just too surreal.

I’ve always enjoyed Karen’s company at the many dog shows we attended.  Whether we went together or just happened to run into one another, we always had a good time.  I will miss her company.

My love and condolences to Karen’s family and closest friends.  She will be well remembered, now and always.  I know she has reunited with many companions at the Rainbow Bridge, and I will see her again when I make that journey.

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